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Our Renovation Plans!

We bought a house! Mar 16, 2018

Excited to finally share with you the plans for our renovation!

The last few months have been a whirlwind of planning, selecting materials, drawing, going back and forth with the budget and all sorts of work on the house. Throw in the whole ‘renovate while pregnant’ thing and you’ve got a potentially lethal combination. Although there’s something nice about being completely allowed to give in to exhaustion now and again. Surprisingly it hasn’t been too bad and Ben and I don’t hate each other (yet!).

Our Renovation Plans: Watch The Video

To show you a bit more of the behind the scenes of the process, we’ve shot a video explaining the plans and letting you know what we’ve got in store. Watch the video below!

I absolutely love the design process, especially with Ben and on something that we care about a lot. That said Ben always helps me to see perspective and not get obsessed with anything that’s not important, which I think can be a real risk in this process.

Our Plans For The Renovation

If you took one look at the before and after elevations, you’ll know that we’ve got a whollllleeeeee lot planned for this house. Sorry in advance to anyone who wanted us to just give it a coat of paint and move on in! Being in an amazing location this house didn’t come cheap (excuse me while I breathe into a brown paper bag), and so a big part of the whole process was creating something that would make all that expense worth it, and give us some return. Throw in the fact that we already had to move the house back and over (due to regulations) you’ve got some serious impetus for changing it up big time. BUT, for those of you who are scared, we’ll be keeping all the things we love about it and creating something functional and with value. Promise!

Raising The House This was the biggest part of the renovation, and one that (due to the size of the house and the size of the site) we just had to do. If the idea of raising a house is weird to you, it’s quite common in this part of Australia where houses are made of timber. Basically, they use blocks to slowly raise the house and also dig out underneath so that you get a whole new level. We’re going quite high with the ceilings downstairs so there’s lots of light. The benefit of this is that it allows you to keep the original structure intact… It’s scary to watch but absolutely essential!

Getting The Orientation Right The next thing that is essential to good design is to get the orientation of the rooms right. For us in Australia, that means orientating key living spaces towards the North, while less lived in spaces like bathrooms were orientated towards the south. This ensures that key rooms are shielded from the hottest part of the day, and that cooling breezes are encouraged through the house.

Building A Seamless Living/Kitchen/Dining You’ll remember that the original house was very very dark and poky, not at all designed for the way that we live now. Not surprising considering how old it is! So one of the key elements was to build out a more open living space, which we did by extending the house out at the back. We considered removing some of the walls to open it out even more, but felt that the internal walls of the old cottage had so much character we couldn’t lose them.

Investing In A Gorgeous Master Bedroom Master bedrooms weren’t a thing in 1871. But they are now! So Ben and I spent a lot of time working on creating a really beautiful and functional master bedroom space. This was a bit tricky to do but in the end, we located it within the extension and were able to include an ensuite bath and a walk-in wardrobe. All this girls dreams come true. The master bedroom itself ended up being a little more narrow than I wanted (due to being located next to the kitchen with built-in storage which ate into the bedroom) but it’s quite a wide room which I think makes up for it.

Creating An Adaptable Space Downstairs But what about the downstairs you say? Welllll this is where we decided to keep it super flexible, locating two bedrooms and a bathroom along the southern wall, and keeping the living as a big space that opens out onto a courtyard. That way we could use this space as an office, as a separate studio or even as an Airbnb. After much consideration, we decided to do a kitchen downstairs too, and also create a separate entrance so that the upstairs and downstairs functions separately. We’re going super minimal with fittings to keep the costs down, with sealed concrete floors and simple white walls.

Bringing In Lots Of Light FINALLY my biggest goal with this renovation. The light. As a lot of you know, the 1871 cottage was more designed to keep light out than let it in… With good reason. But light is my jam and I can’t imagine living in a house with not enough… So Ben worked hard on this, increasing the window size, creating skylights, and in the master bedroom creating a roofline that allows for a long window at roof height, so there’s lots of light. Oh happy days!

The Renovation Floor Plans

Ok so you guys wanted to see how the sausage is made, and so I thought it was only right to share with you the floor plans of our new house! Scroll on by down to the pretty renders if this stuff bores you to tears, but I know that some of you are into the details so here it is!



The upstairs will be comprised of the original house, as well as an extension to the back half. As I mentioned above, we tried to keep the original walls and framing of the original house, which is why we didn’t create a bigger living space (we didn’t want to lose a bedroom either). The living space comprises a long, open space that flows from lounge, dining, kitchen and outdoors, so even though it’s a little bit tight (remember how small the site is guys?!) it will have a feeling of being open and airy. The top right-hand side shows the master bedroom, wardrobe and master bath, and I think this will be a really nice sanctuary, somewhere you could have that bubble bath and be like KIDS DON’T COME IN HERE FOR 20 MINUTES OK?! Or just accept the fact you’ll all be in the bath together.


As I’ve mentioned before, the key goal for downstairs was a space that’s super adaptable and can be used as an office or a separate studio/home. Because we went with two bedrooms in this space, we were able to leave a big open plan space on the right hand side, which could be a gorgeous living or a really amazing open plan office with room for shooting/making/workshops. This is my dream guys! Big glass doors will open onto a gorgeous green courtyard. At least that’s the plan! One of the drawbacks to the ground floor is that we are required by law to put in a carport, something which I was a little sad about (just in an aesthetic sense), but knowing how bad parking is in this area it will certainly come in handy… And we’ve got a few design features we’re doing to make it pretty. More on that soon!


Renders of the House

As you can imagine, having a whole team of people to put together your home design is, well, pretty good. So naturally, Ben and his staff put together some renders of the space, something you probably wouldn’t do if you were paying for it and on a tight budget. Here’s a very simple DRAFT of the outside of the house. Not sure whose car that is but maybe we’ll have a new white one by then?

This is a mock up of the living space. The poky rooms of our 1871 cottage are no more. Yayyyyy! Instead, we’re creating a gorgeous living/kitchen/dining/outdoor space that’s perfect for the climate and suits exactly how we like to live. (If you scroll down you can see my bump that now sticks out over the table. Ha).

This is a mock of up the main bathroom…. It wasn’t even that hard to convince Ben of the pink!

Anyway, hoping you enjoyed the whole this is what we’re planning post. Phew! It feels a bit scary to share al this, mainly because you guys might be like wtf that’s so ugly but that said, we’re happy with it! In the last few months the build has been going ahead really quickly, so in many ways I’ve fallen behind a little in documenting this, but never fear, you’ll see some progress footage very soon… And then the big reveal of the spaces.. Excitement! I’ll also be asking you to help us choose a few styles, colours, materials and finishes… You know how much I love hearing from you guys!


Let us know your thoughts!

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